In a nutshell:
We travelled 130 km each way to eat here since Rocky and Mayur had called it the best dhaba in india – the drive was not worth any more. unfortunately it seems the dhaba has changed hands / malik has got old / complacent -now it’s still good but not wow.
Address & other details: Chilika dhaba
Meal for 2: 500 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian & nonvegetarian
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I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short description- in case u r in a hurry:
Rocky and mayur’s shows and book have always inspired us to go to new places and we have been to a lot of fabulous places based on their recommendations & we will continue to do so. This one turned out to be an aberration.
I remember few years back when the episode on chilika had been aired, we instantly looked at each other and said ‘let’s go’. We in fact almost bought a ticket from delhi to bhubaneshwar once, just to eat at this dhaba.
Finally after waiting for years we planned a trip to bhubaneshwar, konarak, Puri and of course chilika. The drive from konarak to chilika was about 150 km and we happily sat in the car with great anticipation
In the way we stopped at few places seeing the beautiful scenery on both sides.
The dhaba looks like any other dhaba with khatias and benches to sit on, plastic chairs and tables as well. Since this place is visited by families, they have made quite a few family rooms. The common area does not have fans but the family room does. While that is usually not a deterrent, why we chose to sit in the family room was that there were no flies ( due to high speed fans).
The guy who was serving us knew his dishes well. Service was as good as it cud get.
Food was good but way short of greatness. For some reason they had put green capsicum in all dishes which was very disturbing.
Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
We asked for non gravy items only.
We ordered a large crab. Crab is a delicate food which has a sweetish tinge and lovely flavours. There was zero finesse with which the crab was handled, I guess deep fried in very high heat at some stage, thus resulting in the crab meat becoming a bit dry and less supple. The sweetness of the crab was retained.
Loved the taste of it. The dry gravy was excellent though. It was intense, spicy, hot and good. Most irritating thing and out of context ingredient in this dish was capsicum!!!! Rate the crab 3.5/5. Rate the gravy 4.5/5. Overall rating averages out to 4/5.
We also tried prawn curry. This curry was not even good. It lacked punch, it’s seasoning was not balanced and it was superfluous. Rate the curry 2.5/5.
The prawns were good and fresh. They were surely not close to the best prawns I have ever had. Flavours of prawns had been strangled to death by those of the masalas. Rate it 3/5. Rating of this dish averages out to 2.75/5
In both the curries the freshness of the fresh catch was overkilled by deep frying at too high temperature and then putting too much masalas, without caring to cook the masalas well.
Tired with this we thought, let’s order just plain fried prawns. We said ‘ no masalas’. What came was turmeric marinated prawns deep fried with cumin seeds. The heat of the oil had made the prawns crisp and non juicy. Softness and freshness were lost. Rate it 2/5.
Overall rating of food at chilika dhaba averages out to 2.9/5
I wud surely never ever revisit.